Empire City Casino in Yonkers – Live and Online Games

Empire City Casino (empirecitycasino.com) is an actual brick-and-mortar establishment, which runs an online component too. Lately, with the limited and gradual legalization of online gambling in the US, such online operations have popped up everywhere.

Empire City Casino is located at 810 Yonkers Avenue, about 20 miles from Times Square. As such, it is an excellent destination for those looking to escape the Big Apple to sample some gambling fun. Empire City Casino is about much more than gambling though. The casino complex plays host to various events, from weddings to corporate meetings. Indeed, there are no fewer than 8 event spaces, from the small and cozy, all the way to the huge. Empire City Casino features a rather busy schedule of mainstream entertainment, from comedy nights to the organized viewing of sports events, so there is indeed a lot going in there, pretty much all the time. Their monthly Comedy Night is said to be on par with the best entertainment Manhattan clubs have to offer.

In this regard, the Lucky Break (a singing competition with a $25,000 top prize) has to be mentioned as well, together with the Summer Concert Series, which brought in performers like Pat Benatar and the Village People.

Given how Empire City Casino belongs to the Yonkers Raceway, calling it a “racino” would be right on the mark.

While the Raceway was founded way back in 1899, the Empire City Casino has a much briefer history in its review mirrors. The Raceway had the first high-tech slot machines installed in 2006, proceeding to launching the casino without much fanfare. The project itself was a 3-phase one, which came to completion in March, 2007. Since then though, a major expansion was added to the complex, creating more space, so these days, the complex awaits gamblers with more than 5,000 slots and electronic table games.

The operation added a free-to-play online casino as well, hosted on a domain in Nevada, which operates legally, though it has to be said that no real money gambling takes place at the site. Those who join the Empire City Online Casino, are handed $5,000 in virtual credits, so they can experience real casino games risk-free, from the comfort of their homes.

The online casino also has a bonus system going, which rewards players with further credits, every day when they log into the casino.

Empire City Casino Legal Status and Ownership

The actual brick-and-mortar facilities of the racino fall under state lottery laws, which in essence means that the legal gambling age there is 18. As far as the online component of the operation is concerned, since it only currently offers play money games, it does not have to be licensed and regulated in any way. One might view the Empire City Online Casino as a sort of preparatory framework on the part of the operation to position itself well for the eventuality of online gaming legalization.

There are currently two identical bills being considered by New York State lawmakers, which would open up avenues in this direction, and indeed, Empire City Casino officials have expressed willingness in the past to jump right into the online gaming fray, if legalization were to materialize.

The only real money online component of the operation is currently the empirecitybets website, which offers pari-mutuel, real money betting on horse racing – the only legal form of real money online gambling in the state.

As stated above, the owner of the Empire City Casino brand is the Yonkers Raceway.

Empire City Online Casino – Game Selection

Despite the fact that it is a free casino, Empire City Online Casino seems to attract scores of players, so by every measure, the plan of the owners to set up a player base in anticipation of legalization, is working like a charm. There are typically more than 100,000 players at its various virtual tables through the day, and to keep such a mass of people interested, obviously a top-notch game selection is needed.

Like its brick-and-mortar parent operation, Empire City Online Casino seems focused on Slots first and utmost.

There are currently no fewer than 123 titles on offer, covering every conceivable reel/pay-line combination one can think of. The games are Netent and RTP creations, and the software providers keep the operator stocked with their newest products.

Finn and the Swirly Spin is one of the newest games in this category, followed by Reindeer Wild Wins, Secret of Christmas and Red Panda.

Finn and the Swirly Spin is a cluster pays game, which takes place on a 5×5 grid, and which can be played from 10p. The game comes with the usual combination of wild- and scatter symbols, but with innovative game mechanics, which are indeed as simple as they are attractive, once figured out. The game can be accessed from the main slots section of the online casino, at a single click. While this holds true for all the other games, as a beginner, you won’t be able to access them all, as you’ll need more virtual credits to play than what you are awarded upon registration. Just stick to playing the games that you can access though. By doing that, you shall level up quickly and you shall rack up more reward credits before you know it.

The interesting twist in the casino’s monetization model is that while the games are all indeed free, they require virtual credits, which you can indeed lose just as quickly as you can rack them up. The casino offers players the possibility to purchase Virtual Credit packages for real money though. You can grab 17,000 credits for as little as $9. The most expensive Virtual Credit package of the casino costs $500 and it contains 2.5 million virtual credits. Judging by the number of players at the site at all times, this play money operation is probably raking in quite a bit of real money through this sneaky monetization setup.

The table game selection of the operation is almost as impressive as its slots one. It has everything a casino-goer could want, from keno and bingo, to roulette, various poker games and Baccarat. Video poker games are included in this section too: they have Deuces Wild, Jacks or Better and various types of Regal Poker and Jester Poker. Most of the games are Spin Games creations.

Slot tournaments are running all the time, with impressive Virtual Credit prizes. For an entry cost of 20,000 credits for instance, one can win as much as 180,000 credits, provided he/she manages to gain the favor of the featured one-armed bandit. There are invite-only tournaments in the mix too, lending the whole setup a bit of an elitist touch.

The Poker section plays host to games such as Backgammon, Gin Rummy, Poker Dice and Domino Duel. Poker tournaments are running – at least there seems to be a framework set up in this regard – and these games may just include Holdem and Omaha too.


While this is indeed a play money only casino, do not for a second believe that it lacks promotions aimed at drawing more players in, or letting the existing players add to their stacks of virtual currency.

The Power Up promotion for instance, lets players net a 200% bonus on the deposits they make between 10AM and 12 PM. The bonus credits are delivered into the eligible accounts instantly.

The 100% First Purchase Bonus is aimed at those making their first real money purchases. Through this bonus, they can double up their credits. Bonus credits are delivered instantly.

The Loyalty Lounge is aimed at Empire Club Card holders. Such players can gain access to exclusive online games through the promotion, when they link their Club Cards to their online casino accounts. One will need to rack up at least 50,000 VCDs to be allowed to play the said exclusive games.

Empire Club Card holders are eligible for further online benefits. In essence, they can pick up as many as 15,000 Empire Points every week, depending on the amount of purchases they make during the week. The minimum reward requires a purchase of at least $40 and it is worth 200 Empire Points. The maximum 15k points require purchases of at least $3,000.

The Empire points racked up this way can be activated for up to 30 days. Points not activated within that period, are voided.

By logging into his/her Empire City Online Casino account every day, a player will be handed massive amounts of virtual credits. On days 1-5, this amount is 500. Those who log in for 24 consecutive days, get 3,000 virtual credits each day, following that milestone.

The Leaderboards keep track of the most profitable players. The biggest winners are then treated to promotions which help them boost their virtual credit balances further, depending on their overall rank.

Funding Your Empire City Online Casino Account

As said above, you do not really need to actually fund your account. You are awarded a handy chunk of play money upon registration, and you can forward your player level relatively quickly (especially in the beginning). Every level-up earns you additional virtual credits. Of course – as already mentioned – you can also buy virtual credits for real money. Some of the promotions detailed above are clearly designed to encourage players to make use of this real money purchase feature. It is obvious that despite being a play money casino, Empire City Online Casino is indeed looking to earn very real money here. Given that every one (or at the very least: the overwhelming majority) of the games featured come with a house edge, and an even bigger house drop, it is really only a question of time till a player truly hooked on the games is compelled to cough up some real money.

The accepted payment methods are quite diverse. Paypal seems to be the preferred method, followed by a selection of credit- and debit cards. VISA, MasterCard, Discover and American Express are all accepted.

At the end of the day, one has to admit that Empire City Online Casino’s monetization model is quite a stroke of genius. They don’t do anything illegal, they get to use payment processors that would otherwise shun the operation, yet they get to earn real money through online gambling.

Empire City Online Casino Support

Players can connect with Empire City Online Casino in a variety of ways. The operation is present on social media: on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and YouTube. In addition to that, the Contact Us page features an email form as well as a handful of department-specific phone numbers.

The site features an exhaustive FAQ and help section. Registering with the operation is truly as simple as 1-2-3 though and it takes around 10 or so seconds, so it shouldn’t normally give rise to too many problems/questions.

Player Protection

Empire City Casino is keen on responsible gambling. In addition to measures aimed at the strict enforcing of the minimum legal wagering age, it has also introduced a self-exclusion procedure, which problem gamblers are encouraged to use. By completing the required forms, one can essentially request to be excluded from the games offered at the live casino. Family members are not allowed to place anyone on the self-exclusion list.

The Empire City Casino website provides links and phone numbers to various organizations dealing with problem gambling, such as the National Council on Problem Gambling, Gamblers Anonymous and the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services.


The Empire City Online Casino site is obviously focused on PCs, though there are indeed mobile apps available in the Play Store and the Apple App Store. Everything accounted for, the online casino looks like a run-of-the-mill online gambling operation, with a good selection of games, and a very sneaky real money monetization model. Technically though, you will not be able to play for real money prizes at the site – for the time being.

Reputation-wise, the land-based component of the operation is a bit of a mixed bag. While some players like it, others won’t refrain from calling it a scam. Overall, more people consider it Very Good, Good or Average, than Poor and Terrible.

With gambling destinations it can indeed be very difficult to make heads and tails of player feedback. These businesses make money off their client’s losses, and losses can make some extremely bitter.


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